The Obama administration on Monday
secured a permanent hold on a trial judge's order to stop enforcing
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that bans gay and bisexual
troops from serving openly, the AP reported.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
in San Francisco granted defendants the stay they sought while the
government prepares an appeal to U.S.
District Judge Virginia Phillips' September ruling striking down
the law as unconstitutional and subsequent injunction against its
enforcement. The injunction was in place for 8 days before the same
court set aside the order temporarily.
Monday's order means that the law that
has ended the military careers of more than 13,000 gay, lesbian or
bisexual service members will remain in effect for the months –
possibly years – it could take to decide an appeal.
The 3-judge panel split along its
partisan roots. Two judges appointed by President Ronald Reagan
voted in favor of keeping the policy in place, while a third judge
appointed by President Bill Clinton disagreed.
In its 8-page ruling, the court said
keeping the injunction in place would “seriously disrupt ongoing
and determined efforts by the Administration to devise an orderly
says he objects to the law, but is appealing the case because the
wants it ended legislatively.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the largest group
lobbying for repeal of the law, called the ruling “a major
“Today's decision is a major
disappointment, and it underscores the urgent need for the Senate to
act this month in the lame duck session to end this confusion and
bring about the finality that is needed,” he said. “We continue
to warn service members that it is unsafe to come out as long as this
law remains on the books.”
Prospects of repeal in the Senate,
however, remain dim. Republican
Senators in September successfully filibustered a repeal bill.
Senator John McCain has already promised to work against a second